Cumberland Infant School


Key Stage 1 - Year 1

During year 1, teachers should build on work from the Early Years Foundation Stage, making sure that pupils can sound and blend unfamiliar printed words quickly and accurately using the phonic knowledge and skills that they have already learnt. Teachers should also ensure that pupils continue to learn new grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and revise and consolidate those learnt earlier. The understanding that the letter(s) on the page represent the sounds in spoken words should underpin pupils’ reading and spelling of all words. This includes common words containing unusual GPCs. The term ‘common exception words’ is used throughout the programmes of study for such words.

Alongside this knowledge of GPCs, pupils need to develop the skill of blending the sounds into words for reading and establish the habit of applying this skill whenever they encounter new words. This will be supported by practice in reading books consistent with their developing phonic knowledge and skill and their knowledge of common exception words. At the same time they will need to hear, share and discuss a wide range of high-quality books to develop a love of reading and broaden their vocabulary.

Pupils should be helped to read words without overt sounding and blending after a few encounters. Those who are slow to develop this skill should have extra practice.

Pupils’ writing during year 1 will generally develop at a slower pace than their reading. This is because they need to encode the sounds they hear in words (spelling skills), develop the physical skill needed for handwriting, and learn how to organise their ideas in writing.

Pupils entering year 1 who have not yet met the early learning goals for literacy should continue to follow their school’s curriculum for the Early Years Foundation Stage to develop their word reading, spelling and language skills. However, these pupils should follow the year 1 programme of study in terms of the books they listen to and discuss, so that they develop their vocabulary and understanding of grammar, as well as their knowledge more generally across the curriculum. If they are still struggling to decode and spell, they need to be taught to do this urgently through a rigorous and systematic phonics programme so that they catch up rapidly.

Teachers should ensure that their teaching develops pupils’ oral vocabulary as well as their ability to understand and use a variety of grammatical structures, giving particular support to pupils whose oral language skills are insufficiently developed.


Year 1 programme of study


Reading – word reading


Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

§  apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words

§  respond speedily with the correct sound to graphemes (letters or groups of letters) for all 40+ phonemes, including, where applicable, alternative sounds for graphemes

§  read accurately by blending sounds in unfamiliar words containing GPCs that have been taught

§  read common exception words, noting unusual correspondences between spelling and sound and where these occur in the word

§  read words containing taught GPCs and –s, –es, –ing, –ed, –er and –est endings

§  read other words of more than one syllable that contain taught GPCs

§  read words with contractions [for example, I’m, I’ll, we’ll], and understand that the apostrophe represents the omitted letter(s)

§  read aloud accurately books that are consistent with their developing phonic knowledge and that do not require them to use other strategies to work out words

§  re-read these books to build up their fluency and confidence in word reading













Reading – comprehension


Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

§  develop pleasure in reading, motivation to read, vocabulary and understanding by:

§  listening to and discussing a wide range of poems, stories and non-fiction at a level beyond that at which they can read independently

§  being encouraged to link what they read or hear read to their own experiences

§  becoming very familiar with key stories, fairy stories and traditional tales, retelling them and considering their particular characteristics

§  recognising and joining in with predictable phrases

§  learning to appreciate rhymes and poems, and to recite some by heart

§  discussing word meanings, linking new meanings to those already known

§  understand both the books they can already read accurately and fluently and those they listen to by:

§  drawing on what they already know or on background information and vocabulary provided by the teacher

§  checking that the text makes sense to them as they read and correcting inaccurate reading

§  discussing the significance of the title and events

§  making inferences on the basis of what is being said and done

§  predicting what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far

§  participate in discussion about what is read to them, taking turns and listening to what others say

§  explain clearly their understanding of what is read to them.








Writing – transcription


Statutory requirements

Spelling (see English Appendix 1)

Pupils should be taught to:

§  spell:

§  words containing each of the 40+ phonemes already taught

§  common exception words

§  the days of the week

§  name the letters of the alphabet:

§  naming the letters of the alphabet in order

§  using letter names to distinguish between alternative spellings of the same sound

§  add prefixes and suffixes:

§  using the spelling rule for adding s or es as the plural marker for nouns and the third person singular marker for verbs

§  using the prefix un

§  using ing,ed,er and est where no change is needed in the spelling of root words [for example, helping, helped, helper, eating, quicker, quickest]

§  apply simple spelling rules and guidance, as listed in English Appendix 1

§  write from memory simple sentences dictated by the teacher that include words using the GPCs and common exception words taught so far.

Statutory requirements


Pupils should be taught to:

§  sit correctly at a table, holding a pencil comfortably and correctly

§  begin to form lower-case letters in the correct direction, starting and finishing in the right place

§  form capital letters

§  form digits 0-9

§  understand which letters belong to which handwriting ‘families’ (i.e. letters that are formed in similar ways) and to practise these.


Writing – composition


Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

§  write sentences by:

§  saying out loud what they are going to write about

§  composing a sentence orally before writing it

§  sequencing sentences to form short narratives

§  re-reading what they have written to check that it makes sense

§  discuss what they have written with the teacher or other pupils

§  read aloud their writing clearly enough to be heard by their peers and the teacher.


Writing – vocabulary, grammar and punctuation


Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

§  develop their understanding of the concepts set out in English Appendix 2 by:

§  leaving spaces between words

§  joining words and joining clauses using and

§  beginning to punctuate sentences using a capital letter and a full stop, question mark or exclamation mark

§  using a capital letter for names of people, places, the days of the week, and the personal pronoun ‘I’

§  learning the grammar for year 1 in English Appendix 2

§  use the grammatical terminology in English Appendix 2 in discussing their writing.







Appendix 1 Spelling – work for year 1

In this spelling appendix, the left-hand column is statutory; the middle and right-hand columns are non-statutory guidance. The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is used to represent sounds (phonemes). A table showing the IPA is provided in this document.

Revision of reception work



Statutory requirements

The boundary between revision of work covered in Reception and the introduction of new work may vary according to the programme used, but basic revision should include:

§  all letters of the alphabet and the sounds which they most commonly represent

§  consonant digraphs which have been taught and the sounds which they represent

§  vowel digraphs which have been taught and the sounds which they represent

§  the process of segmenting spoken words into sounds before choosing graphemes to represent the sounds

§  words with adjacent consonants

§  guidance and rules which have been taught


Statutory requirements


Rules and guidance (non‑statutory)

Example words (non‑statutory)

The sounds /f/, /l/, /s/, /z/ and /k/ spelt ff, ll, ss, zz and ck


The /f/, /l/, /s/, /z/ and /k/ sounds are usually spelt as ff, ll, ss, zz and ck if they come straight after a single vowel letter in short words. Exceptions: if, pal, us, bus, yes.

off, well, miss, buzz, back

The /ŋ/ sound spelt n before k



bank, think, honk, sunk


Division of words into syllables


Each syllable is like a ‘beat’ in the spoken word. Words of more than one syllable often have an unstressed syllable in which the vowel sound is unclear.

pocket, rabbit, carrot, thunder, sunset


Statutory requirements


Rules and guidance (non‑statutory)

Example words (non‑statutory)



The /tʃ/ sound is usually spelt as tch if it comes straight after a single vowel letter. Exceptions: rich, which, much, such.

catch, fetch, kitchen, notch, hutch

The /v/ sound at the end of words


English words hardly ever end with the letter v, so if a word ends with a /v/ sound, the letter e usually needs to be added after the ‘v’.

have, live, give

Adding s and es to words (plural of nouns and the third person singular of verbs)


If the ending sounds like /s/ or /z/, it is spelt as –s. If the ending sounds like /ɪz/ and forms an extra syllable or ‘beat’ in the word, it is spelt as –es.

cats, dogs, spends, rocks, thanks, catches

Adding the endings –ing, –ed and –er to verbs where no change is needed to the root word


–ing and –er always add an extra syllable to the word and –ed sometimes does.

The past tense of some verbs may sound as if it ends in /ɪd/ (extra syllable), /d/ or /t/ (no extra syllable), but all these endings are spelt –ed.

If the verb ends in two consonant letters (the same or different), the ending is simply added on.

hunting, hunted, hunter, buzzing, buzzed, buzzer, jumping, jumped, jumper

Adding –er and –est to adjectives where no change is needed to the root word


As with verbs (see above), if the adjective ends in two consonant letters (the same or different), the ending is simply added on.

grander, grandest, fresher, freshest, quicker, quickest






Vowel digraphs and trigraphs

Some may already be known, depending on the programmes used in Reception, but some will be new.

Vowel digraphs and trigraphs


Rules and guidance (non‑statutory)

Example words (non‑statutory)

ai, oi


The digraphs ai and oi are virtually never used at the end of English words.

rain, wait, train, paid, afraid oil, join, coin, point, soil

ay, oy


ay and oy are used for those sounds at the end of words and at the end of syllables.

day, play, say, way, stay boy, toy, enjoy, annoy




made, came, same, take, safe




these, theme, complete




five, ride, like, time, side




home, those, woke, hope, hole



Both the /u:/ and /ju:/ (‘oo’ and ‘yoo’) sounds can be spelt as u–e.

June, rule, rude, use, tube, tune




car, start, park, arm, garden




see, tree, green, meet, week

ea (/i:/)



sea, dream, meat, each, read (present tense)

ea (/ɛ/)



head, bread, meant, instead, read (past tense)

er (/ɜ:/)



(stressed sound): her, term, verb, person

er (/ə/)



(unstressed schwa sound): better, under, summer, winter, sister




girl, bird, shirt, first, third




turn, hurt, church, burst, Thursday


Vowel digraphs and trigraphs


Rules and guidance (non‑statutory)

Example words (non‑statutory)

oo (/u:/)


Very few words end with the letters oo, although the few that do are often words that primary children in year 1 will encounter, for example, zoo

food, pool, moon, zoo, soon

oo (/ʊ/)



book, took, foot, wood, good



The digraph oa is very rare at the end of an English word.

boat, coat, road, coach, goal




toe, goes




The only common English word ending in ou is you.

out, about, mouth, around, sound

ow (/aʊ/)

ow (/əʊ/)




Both the /u:/ and /ju:/ (‘oo’ and ‘yoo’) sounds can be spelt as u–e, ue and ew. If words end in the /oo/ sound, ue and ew are more common spellings than oo.

now, how, brown, down, town own, blow, snow, grow, show blue, clue, true, rescue, Tuesday new, few, grew, flew, drew, threw

ie (/aɪ/)



lie, tie, pie, cried, tried, dried

ie (/i:/)



chief, field, thief




high, night, light, bright, right




for, short, born, horse, morning




more, score, before, wore, shore




saw, draw, yawn, crawl




author, August, dinosaur, astronaut




air, fair, pair, hair, chair




dear, hear, beard, near, year

ear (/ɛə/)



bear, pear, wear

are (/ɛə/)



bare, dare, care, share, scared


Statutory requirements


Rules and guidance (non‑statutory)

Example words (non‑statutory)

Words ending –y (/i:/ or /ɪ/)



very, happy, funny, party, family

New consonant spellings ph and wh


The /f/ sound is not usually spelt as ph in short everyday words (e.g. fat, fill, fun).

dolphin, alphabet, phonics, elephant when, where, which, wheel, while

Using k for the /k/ sound


The /k/ sound is spelt as k rather than as c before e, i and y.

Kent, sketch, kit, skin, frisky

Adding the prefix –un


The prefix un– is added to the beginning of a word without any change to the spelling of the root word.

unhappy, undo, unload, unfair, unlock

Compound words


Compound words are two words joined together. Each part of the longer word is spelt as it would be if it were on its own.

football, playground, farmyard, bedroom, blackberry

Common exception words


Pupils’ attention should be drawn to the grapheme-phoneme correspondences that do and do not fit in with what has been taught so far.

the, a, do, to, today, of, said, says, are, were, was, is, his, has, I, you, your, they, be, he, me, she, we, no, go, so, by, my, here, there, where, love, come, some, one, once, ask, friend, school, put, push, pull, full, house, our – and/or others, according to the programme used